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Doctors of BC to end conjoint membership with CMA

November 6, 2018
New November 14 - See Questions and Answers below the article

The Doctors of BC Board of Directors voted to end mandatory conjoint membership with the Canadian Medical Association at its November meeting. The change will come into effect January 1, 2020. 

This means that, for the first time, members will have a choice as to whether they will join the CMA when they pay their Doctors of BC dues.

“We received many emails and calls from physicians who felt very strongly about this principle of choice,” said Dr Eric Cadesky, President of Doctors of BC. “The Board also kept in mind that, unlike the majority of doctors in Canada, physicians in BC can choose whether to become members of our provincial medical association without that decision affecting our licensure to practice medicine. This principle of autonomy will now apply to both the provincial and national associations.”

Dr Cadesky said the Board agreed to delay implementation for one year to address the technological challenge of changing the electronic collection system so late in the calendar year.   

Please read the President’s Letter sent to members for more information. 
 
Have a question or a comment, e-mail Dr Eric Cadesky at president@doctorsofbc.ca


Questions and Answers on conjoint membership decision
 – with President Dr Eric Cadesky

What will be different for Doctors of BC members with the end of conjoint membership with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA)?

  • Currently, when members join or renew membership with Doctors of BC, they have a choice to join other organizations such as various Sections, Societies, and Associations.
  • Historically, however, choice was not extended to membership in the Canadian Medical Association (CMA.)
  • Starting in January 2020, doctors in BC will have the choice to join the CMA just as they have a choice to join the other medical associations.
  • If doctors want to continue to be a member of the CMA,  they can pay their CMA dues at the same time they pay to renew their Doctors of BC membership.

 Why did the Board decide to end conjoint membership with the CMA?

  • A number of considerations came into play.
  • First, Doctors of BC is one of the few Provincial-Territorial Medical Associations (PTMAs) that is a voluntary association. Unlike the majority of doctors in Canada, British Columbia physicians can choose whether or not to become a member of Doctors of BC. Most doctors must pay dues to their PTMA in order to practice in that province or territory; that is why Doctors of BC is an association and not a union.
  • Also, we felt the principle of autonomy was important. Just there is a choice in joining Doctors of BC, so too should members have the choice to join the CMA.
  • With all of the changes to health care at the national and provincial levels, many members have written to Doctors of BC asking for reconsideration of conjoint membership. Doctors of BC is a member-driven organization and we always want members' voices to matter and to address issues that are important to us all.

Did the sale of MD Management have an impact on the decision?

  • Although we did receive many letters about the sale of MD Management, this decision is not a comment on the CMA or its direction.
  • There has been discussion for several years about the option of ending conjoint membership and after talking to members and our colleagues across the country it became clear that the autonomy of doctors in BC is uniquely respected and that it should extend to all membership options.

What will this mean for the relationship between Doctors of BC and the CMA in the future?

  • We fully intend to continue our strong relationship with the CMA. We recognize it represents the national voice for physicians, and we will continue to partner on initiatives important to all physicians.
  • I have personally spoken with the Chair of the Board and the President of the CMA following our decision, they expressed the same willingness to strengthen our bond and collaborate on issues that are important to doctors in BC.
  • We believe that by making membership a choice rather a mandate there will be more accountability and more engaged members as both Doctors of BC and the CMA work to maintain members trust.

Is Doctors of BC the only Provincial-Territorial Medical Association to end conjoint membership?

  • The majority of doctors in Canada do not have conjoint membership. These include Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta has deferred this decision until 2019. 

Will Doctors of BC continue to have a seat at the CMA Board of Directors?

  • Yes. As per previously announced change, the CMA Board will next year allocate one seat per province on their Board. We will be represented there.